The demise of Water Cooler Decision Making

 

On a recent meeting I had with a government department wrestling with providing better service; and to improve effectiveness and efficiency to it’s workers:  I started to discuss how government departments are attempting to eliminate water cooler decision making within in it’s programs.

They looked at me with a strange look. I sometimes get a tilted head as people try to understand what I mean.  Fundamentally it comes down to using technology to capture the decision making process.

If you have workers standing around a water cooler and making decisions on work or a case file; you are not capturing the knowledge or the information associated with the discussion or the decision.  If you have workers making decision around the “water cooler” it also means that the technical infrastructure is not providing a robust enough work environment that the workers feel comfortable enough in order to make a decision.

If workers are making decisions at the water cooler you have lost the ability to go back and understand who made the decision, why did they make that decision and how did they make the decision.  You want the technology to capture as much as that as possible to ensure compliance to policy and legislation.

 

IMG 1022

So we start to have a discussion about Advanced Case Management (ACM).  ACM is recognized by the majority of the analyst firms globally.  ACM is a strategy not a product.  The strategy typically involves planning around ECM, Task Automation and Metadata then leveraging technology that puts more of the information, knowledge and collaboration in the hands of the worker.  

So as a worker is dealing with a case or work order etc. they can; within the technology or application, access email and IM or other collaborative tools to be able to reach others to ask and share knowledge to help them make a decision on the task or case file at hand.  ACM technologies need to be able to provide a rich UI and work experience so that government workers trust the application or technology.

In a recent business value assessment I was involved in we found finance clerks “PRINTING” screen shots of their work in an ERP system !  So they were using technology but did not trust it in case they would be audited.  They then kept those printed screen shots and not only filed them but copied them for their manager because the manager did not trust the system of engagement or system or record !!!  This blows my mind.

So technology and strategy around case file management in government departments has to be well thought out from best practices and the benefits of an integrated ECM, Task and Metadata strategy.

More on this topic soon.

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